I am by nature timid and go to crazy lengths to avoid confrontation. A week ago was no exception. Marinating in the words of a woman made a jalapeño stew that my brain soaked in and began to boil . In other words, I was peeved.
Bestie asked me to act as a buffer between her and her worker. This woman is supposed to help her cook, clean, take her shopping, and junk. I keep trying to recall the name of this job or even the acronym, so I just call the woman Bestie’s RSVP Worker. Wait, I remember now. She’s my friend’s PCA: Personal Care Assistant. Why is that so hard to remember? Could be my advanced years or all the pot I smoked with my ex-roommate, or I’m just lousy at remembering anything.
So this woman, Lady Lue is a PCA, which must mean Personal Complaints Assistant. The fine art of complaining was something in which she excelled. Whether it was her family, other clients of hers, or how miserable her life was in general, Lady Lue wanted Bestie to know in detail. Everyone loves martyrs, right?
Perhaps if it remained only a matter of complaining, Bestie might have handled it. There were other things though, such as her temper, her nagging, and hurrying my friend. Plus there was the issue of a quilt that only materialized after my friend mentioned it to one of Lady Lue’s superiors.
The final straw however came the day she took Bestie to the laundromat, hurried her along, resented when my friend spoke to people she knew as Lady Lue hustled my friend’s stuff out of the machine.
“Come on, let’s go, I’ve got to get to my hair appointment!” Lady Lue demanded. When they got back to my friend’s house, and Bestie asked her to make her bed as she is physically disabled, Lady Lue’s reply was “ I don’t have time now. I’ll come back later today if I can.” Lady Lue didn’t return, and while leaving she called her hair dresser. “I’m running late, can you just dye it, and I’ll wash it out at home?”
My friend, disturbed by all of this, ended up going back to the laundromat to retrieve things left behind. This all made her tell someone about Lady Lue’s conduct. Then Tuesday she was supposed to come see Bestie again, and my friend was so afraid of a confrontation that I stayed all day for a Lady Lue who never showed in the first place. Lady Lue’s supervisor assured my friend she would do what’s expected until she could be replaced. Not exactly.
Friday came. I rolled out of bed, half asleep, too tired to really give a damn what I looked like. I dreaded meeting Lady Lue. The tales I’d heard of her superior bitchitude made me wary, plus I had seen her lackluster job at stuff too: dishes with food debris still on them and a dirty cat litter box scooper thrown in the kitchen sink. Look, I’m probably the nastiest person in this complex, but the cat scooper in the kitchen sink? Seriously?
I answered the door at my friend’s house and there she stood. Lady Lue: A woman dressed in a leopard print coat, her page-boy hair dyed shoe polish black. I introduced myself in the friendliest manner of which I am capable, a saccharin sweet voice that secretly means ‘go to hell’ in Southern.
“How nice to meet you! I just woke up this morning and decided I’d pop in and see what my friend was up to today like I sometimes do, “ I said to deter Lady Lue from thinking I was strategically placed there. It was as though I’d been snorting Pixie Sticks in preparation for this meeting.
“What a nice jacket!” exclaimed Lady Lue, which secretly means ‘go to hell’ in New Yorkese. Now when I first found that jacket at a dumpster circa 1996, yes I’d have agreed with her, “Nice jacket. Someone fat musta lost weight or died. Oh well, my gain!” Eighteen years later, the denim is fraying at the edges in a grungy tribute to a bygone era. As Kurt Cobain used to sing, Come as You Are.
She set my jacket aside, sat down and became all business. “Did you do your laundry this week?” My friend hadn’t and it was that broad’s DUTY TO DO IT. “But,” said Bestie pointedly, Lisa helped me make my beds.” Oh snap. I am useful as well as decorative.
Lady Lue asked something in New Yorkese. Are you brafjfa answpa lipt?”
“I’m sorry, I’m not sure what that is?”
“Lent is something some Christians do that they give up 40 days until Easter,” Lady Lue announced in a tone I didn’t like, though it might have been my imagination. Are you saying I ain’t a good Christian, bitch?
“ Ohhh Lent, yes I know what Lent is. I misunderstood you. Unfortunately I either forget or am not good enough at keeping it.” Bestie remained silent due to the fact that she’s Apostolic Pentecostal and they aren’t so keen on rituals. Besides, that question is kind of tacky, like if I hauled out and asked, “Surely you must be hitting menopause by now?”
The next thing Lady Lue did I’m 99% percent sure was to put me in my place for being there. It was insulting no matter how you slice it, and shows this woman doesn’t believe all people deserve dignity just as much as her stuck up ass does.
You must be one of Lena’s friends.”
I’m sorry, I don’t think I know a Lena,” I said confused.
“Oh you don’t get services?”
“No.” You c___t, I’m thinking to myself. You f’ing bitch. She’s saying you’re retarded, Lisa. That you’re a mental case and ride the short bus just like every other freaking person thinks of you. It was like every single slight I ever received by the many people who thought I was below average intellectually came and punched me. The guy who tried to sic the mentally challenged guy on me romantically just to be funny. People talking about me, but not addressing me. The man who told me, “Everyone thinks you’re kinda slow, but not me.” The woman who came up to me after my mother died and asked if I needed a nurse. Being in that home for two months. I filled with anger, I didn’t trust myself not to tell her she was an f’ing bitch. I wanted to die of mortification.
“No, she gets services, but not through your company,” said Bestie Oh well, another attempt at pretending to be normal thwarted, but at least it shut that B up.
Now that she had wiped the floor with my delicate little psyche, Lady Lue proceeded to sweep the floor in the kitchen, and not bother mopping it though Bestie had asked her to.
“My supervisor will call you next week ,” she said, and with that left my friend shaking and my brain boiling in
PS< Happy St. Patrick’s Day